Themistocles (ca. 524-459 B.C.)Themistocles (ca. 524-459 B.C.) - The architect of the Greek naval strategy during the Persian Wars. Although the Spartan, Leonidas, gets the lion's share of the credit for his heroic stand at Thermopylae, Themistocles' role in saving the homeland was no less important. He commanded the fleet at Artemesium, and then again at Salamis. Ten years earlier, he fought at Marathon. Perhaps most importantly, he convinced the Athenians to beef up their navy in 483 B.C. after the discovery of a silver vein at Laurium on the southern tip of Attica. If Solon laid the foundation for Athenian democracy and Cleisthenes put the policies in place, then Themistocles is the one who saved the city from tyranny, allowing democracy to flourish. But, he may also have been a key figure in setting Athens on the path toward the Peloponnesian War later in the century. By ordering the defenses of the city to be rebuilt, he incurred the anger of the Athens' chief rival, Sparta. By 472, he fell out of favor with his own city as well, and was ostracized. So he moved to Argos. There, Spartan conspirators implicated him in a plot to assist Persia in a third invasion, and he was forced to flee Greece altogether. He sailed to Asia Minor and, ironically, ended up in the service of the Persian king, never returning to Athens.